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Catechumen: One who is learning the principles of Christianity.
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The theological reflections of an Eastern Orthodox convert and seminarian
:: St Seraphim, OCA::
:: St Andrew, AA::
:: Orthodox Church of America::
[::..Blogs I Read..::]
:: Huw's Doxos::
:: James' Paradosis::
::Fr. Joseph's Orthodixie::
[::..Other Links..::]
:: St. Vladimir's
(current school)
:: Torrey::
:: Biola::
:: The Onion Dome::
:: Yahoo::
:: Dictionary::
:: Boundless Webzine::

:: Monday, December 19, 2005 ::

Orthodox Pop Music

Last Friday, James posted that he would like to see more good Orthodox modern music. With all due respect to those bloggers whose hit count outdoes me by a mile, I respectfully and strongly disagree.

[::steps on soapbox::]

To be blunt, most music that is produced is poor. I am not saying that there are not good songs, but (by definition), most music is just average. In one way, it is good to buy this; we should support our own local artisans who, while generally producing average products, may some day produce something noteworthy. We should support them because they are ‘us;’ local, homegrown, and the guys next door.

At the same time, we should not mass market our local groups, especially their just so-so stuff. Firstly, we need to make sure that we do not produce the loathsome and sensual “Jesus is my girlfriend” music that strongly appeals to the emotions of many teens today. Not only does that wrongly confuse emotion with religion, but it reduces the Church and its glory to the passing fad of popular music; when that song is no longer popular, does the Church which that music reflects also suddenly become passé and irrelevant?

Secondly, Christians are artists. Especially as Orthodox Christians, we have an appreciation of art that modern society lacks; we revel in beauty, and worship the Beautiful Who became physical reality for us. Being myself a musician, I am somewhat familiar with the aural tradition; in both the East and West, Christianity has led the way with great original composers such as Bach, Beethoven, and Tschicovsky. To become beautiful, the ‘music of the world’ has been forced to follow in the beauty of Christianity. There is real beauty in music, and we are in a unique position to ‘see’ it. Before we announce to America what kind of music we produce, we must be able to produce our own, truly beautiful music.

[::jumps, trippingly, off of soapbox::]

Now back to your regular programming…

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 1:00 PM on Monday, December 19, 2005 [+] ::

:: Friday, December 16, 2005 ::

This semester has been killer. I don’t think I can remember the last time I worked that hard. It is over now, but it was long and hard. During the hard times, I survived mostly on the prayers of others; I should not have been able to accomplish all that I did. For the first time in a long time, I had to trust God in all things.

This term has been a time of incredible vulnerability for me. It has taught me to rely on God in ways I could not have imagined. I would get to the end of a 16-hour day and stagger to my ikon corner. I had nothing to say, nothing to pray, and I could barely move enough to cross myself. Yet (and only by grace!) I was able to keep my prayer rule. All of my pretensions, both my lies to myself and my lies before God were stripped away. I was able to stand before God in all genuineness. I had to stand there vulnerable, and trust that I would not get hurt.

This term I have had no strength. I have had to be carried by the prayers of others, by the prayers of the saints, and by the grace of God himself. But I made it. I have, in a small way, learned to trust that God is big enough to carry me through what he wills me to do. I have also learned that what I study is what I love; even through the exhaustion of a near-constant fever and the mental blur of an 80+ hour week, I still came out on the other side loving God and confident that I was walking in his will. This knowledge has provided for me more encouragement than almost anything else: it is hard, but God is there. And he is really, really big.

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 5:27 PM on Friday, December 16, 2005 [+] ::

:: Saturday, December 10, 2005 ::
Humble People

I know posts have been spotty/bad recently; I’ll get back to a better schedule as soon as these last two crazy weeks of finals are over!

I am very blessed to have truly humble people as examples in my life. They never talk about humility, but they live it in such clear ways that it humbles even me.

Not being particularly humble myself (as my friends will attest!), I am never sure how to deal with them, however. Here’s an example: Last week, I did something nice for one of these humble people, and she didn’t thank me. I wasn’t expecting thanks (it wasn’t something big, and it was kind of obligatory), but when she realized she had not thanked me, she not only called to thank me, but to apologize.

You know how it is when you are on the phone with someone, and they say, “So, yeah, I’m really sorry that…” And you say…? What? What do you say? I didn’t think she needed to apologize for anything, so what do I say? The awkward silence didn’t cut it too well for me. So, my question to you is: what do you say when someone who is genuinely humble and sweet apologizes to you for something you do not view as wrong?

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 10:04 PM on Saturday, December 10, 2005 [+] ::

:: Friday, December 02, 2005 ::
Prayer for a Friend

I know there are those out there who pray well, and I am asking for your prayers.

The father of two of my good friends here at Biola is dying of cancer; his name is Larry. He is a missionary-translator who works among the Mayo in Mexico, and he has 7 kids, of which my two friends are the eldest. They removed a tumor from his gallbladder two days ago, and discovered the cancer was malignant and spreading; they gave him a few weeks to two years, probably about 10 months.

Please pray for him; pray for his healing. Pray for us here as we surround our friends with our love. Pray that they can both finish this semester and return next semester. Pray for the nine of them in their family, that God will shelter them in the shadow of his wings. Please.

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 11:30 PM on Friday, December 02, 2005 [+] ::

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